Alumni will fight to keep Xavier Prep open - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Alumni will fight to keep Xavier Prep open

Updated:
The school located on Magazine street has been operating for 98 years. The school located on Magazine street has been operating for 98 years.

New Orleans, La.—The President and principal of Xavier Preparatory High School spent much of the day meeting with representatives of the Archdiocese crafting a plan to get his students into other catholic schools.

This after the nuns who own the uptown school announced Wednesday that they plan to close it for good at the end of this school year.

But some parents and alumni who spoke to FOX 8 News said they will fight to keep the school open, no matter what.

On Mardi Gras morning, Xavier Prep's band and flag team marched in the Zulu parade, the first parade of the day on Fat Tuesday.

And now a little more than a week later students, parents, and alumni are trying to recover from an announcement which left them in a state of disbelief.

"I'm very emotional, I'm very compassionate about what's going on," said Aisha Bass as she stood outside of the school. She is a 1994 graduate.

Yesterday the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and the principal informed the student body, faculty and parents that the school would be closing at the end of this school year.

The nuns' statement said the school does not have a "financially sustainable future."

"This has ravaged the community," Bass said of the announcement.

For 98 years, the venerable institution has been a part of the city's fabric. Currently there are close to 250 students.

"This was the cool place to be a nerd, you wanted to excel here," said Tachic Hickman-Piazza, another alumna.

And the memories and pride transcends the years.

"When the honor roll went up people were running, literally, like food was being passed out, you wanted to see if your name was on that list," continued Hickman-Piazza.

"Prep", as the uptown school is affectionately called, has for decades educated primarily African-American girls, but its history has also included educating male students.

"It totally saddened my heart being that Xavier Prep was the cornerstone of my development and I truly believe that without Xavier Prep I probably wouldn't have the career that I have now, so I owe it all to Xavier Prep," said Luliana Mars, also an alumna.

Some spoke of generations of family members attending the school.

"My sisters went here. I was destined to go here before I really knew what high school was," said Hickman-Piazza.

"As I look at the bricks I become very emotional, you know," continued Bass.

While "Prep" is not an archdiocesan school, Principal and President Joseph Peychaud is in close contact with the Archdiocese's Office of Catholic Schools to find other schools for the students.

"The idea is to get them into another catholic school at this point in time," he said.

And so revved up are former students of "Prep" that they say they will do whatever it takes to keep this school from closing.

"Just make sure that, that won't be the ultimate end," said Tachic Hickman-Piazza.

"Prep was the first true sound base of what they call true sisterhood. It's a family," said Bass.

Alumni of the school will host a citywide strategy meeting on Saturday at 10 am at the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Charter School located at 1617 Caffin Avenue.

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